German Unification 1815-1850

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The German Unification - 1815-1850

The German Situation in 1815

  • 1815-1848 - The Vormärz Period; little progress towards the unification of Germany
  • 1815 - Congress of Vienna
  • German Confederation set up - made up of the 38 (later 39) states that made up Germany; Austria was included, as were large parts of Prussian-controlled Poland
  • The Confederation consisted of not only many different ethnicities and states, but also over a huge expanse of land in which each state had a different agenda. 
  • * Its President was the Emperor of Austria, meaning that his country still had a strong grip over the German lands
  • * The members of the Confederation met at the Frankfurt Diet, once every year
  • * Any actions taken by the Confederation were considered by the General Assembly, a seperate organisation
  • * The Treaty of Vienna additionally gave the region of Westphalia and the Rhineland to Prussia for her involvement in defeating Napoléon 'the Great'
  • * These regions were rich with coal and iron
  • * This posed a problem for Prussia; her new people in the west of Germany saw the King's rule as occupation by a foreign power as their cultures and languages differed - they did not feel united
  • 1815 - Austria is a declining power
  • * Emperor Francis I (1815-1830) - "My realm is like a worm-eaten house; if one part is removed, one cannot tell how much will fall"
  • * She is overstretched
  • * Much of her populace despise the Austrian rule (Slav nationalism)
  • * Inefficient economically
  • * Military spending being cut
  • * Deteriorating in stature

Economic development within Germany between 1815 and 1850

  • Zollverein founded by Prussia in 1818 - It was a customs force that taxed foreign imports heavily to encourage domestic economic growth
  • * By 1834 it had expanded to all of the German states except from Austria
  • * Economic unity within the German states allowed for political changes to begin to take place (Marxist view)
  • Additionally led to Prussian economic dominance across Germany
  • Austrian Economic development and situation between 1815 and 1850 - 80% of workforce in agriculture in 1815, 701,000 tons of coal produced in 1845, 247,000 Austrians in industry in 1815, 444,000 in industry in 1848, virtually no railways, serfdom still present (socially backwards also)
  • Prussian and German economic development and situation between 1815 and 1850 - 600,000 Germans in industry by 1848, British-backed financial growth (especially in Prussia, a nation very close to Britain), 172,000 workers in Berlin's (Prussia) industry in 1815, 419,000 workers in Berlin's industry alone by 1850, serfdom abolished in 1806, 5.6mil tons of coal produced in 1845 in Prussia alone, 4% of Prussians were factory workers, 549km of railway across Germany by 1815, Berlin-Potsdam Railway constructed fully by 1838, ouput of coal increased by ten times in Silesia between 1815 and 1850
  • Best summarised by - Klemens von


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